This Day in Minnesota History

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Today's Date: January 20

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1896

On a theatrical tour, Calamity Jane (Martha Cannary Burk) appears at the Palace Museum in Minneapolis, dressed in the male attire of buckskin jacket and trousers and giving "the people of the eastern cities an opportunity of seeing the Woman Scout who was made so famous through her daring career in the West and Black Hill countries."

1961

A fire destroys the Crosby family home, which had been built at the foot of Montreal Street in St. Paul and is now the site of Crosby Farm Park.

1969

President Lyndon B. Johnson bestows the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States, on civil rights activist Roy Wilkins. Wilkins was born in Mississippi but spent most of his life in St. Paul. In 1923 he graduated from the University of Minnesota, where he was the Minnesota Daily's first black reporter and editor. He served as executive director of the NAACP from 1955 to 1977. A postage stamp honoring him was issued in 2001.

1981

Lowell Bruce Laingen, who grew up in Odin, Minnesota, is one of fifty-two hostages released from the American Embassy in Tehran after being held by Islamic militants for 444 days during the Iran Hostage Crisis. Laingen was chargé d'affaires at the embassy.